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Statement of Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner, Policy, Administration and Budget
Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Department of the Interior
Before the
Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Water and Power
U.S. House of Representatives
on
HR 4080
To extend the contract for the Glendo Unit of the Missouri River Basin Project in the State of Wyoming

February 08, 2006

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 4080. The Department supports the goals of H.R. 4080.

On July 1, 1997, the State of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, and the United States Department of the Interior entered into a cooperative agreement for Platte River research and other efforts relating to endangered species habitats along the Central Platte River in Nebraska. The purpose of the cooperative agreement is to jointly undertake a basin-wide effort to improve the habitat of four threatened and endangered species along the Platte River. The cooperative study is designed to help develop a basin-wide program to be the reasonable and prudent alternative to minimize the effects of existing and new water related activities in the Platte River Basin.

Glendo Dam and Reservoir is one of several Bureau of Reclamation dams and reservoirs on the North Platte River that operate as an integrated system. The Bureau of Reclamation is required to consult under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on the operations of the entire reservoir system.

Successful consultation completion will be dependent upon achieving a Recovery Implementation Program (Program) that will serve as a reasonable and prudent alternative for the ESA consultation. A final programmatic environmental impact statement which leads to a Program is scheduled to be completed in March 2006, with a record of decision to follow in April 2006. We anticipate the Governors of the States of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming and Secretary of the Interior will enter into such a Program following the record of decision. H.R. 4080 will allow Reclamation to renew the Glendo contracts when the Program is in place.

The intent of H.R. 4080 is to amend the Irrigation Project Contract Extension Act of 1998 to require the Secretary of the Interior to extend each of the water service or repayment contracts for the Glendo Unit of the Missouri River Basin Project for a period of 2 years until December 31, 2007, or for the term of the cooperative agreement entered into by the State of Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and the Secretary of the Interior.

To ensure that the intent of this bill to amend the Irrigation Project Contract Extension Act of 1998 is clearly identified, the Department recommends the long title of the bill read as follows: "To amend the Irrigation Project Contract Extension Act of 1998 to extend certain contracts between the Bureau of Reclamation and certain irrigation water contractors in the States of Wyoming and Nebraska."

With this clarification, the Department supports H.R. 4080. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.